Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Unrealistic expectations?

It's important to have FUN and not take life too seriously!
 Do you ever struggle to be GREAT in every aspect of your life?

Do you ever feel like you're always FLAT OUT but you're never really satisfied or satisfying others?

Do you ever feel like breaking down because you don't feel good enough?

Do you ever feel like there are unrealistic expectations set by society to have a successful career, to have a neat and tidy house, to start a family, to keep your partner and relationship alive and happy, to be there for your family and to make time for your friends?

I know I do.

Unrealistic expectations.

 Do we set them upon ourselves or are they placed upon us? If they are placed upon us, then who is held responsible? The government? Our friends and family? Our employer? Our partner? Or society? Ourselves?

Does it really matter if we don't meet these expectations?

As much as I'd like to say no, I know that I let things affect me, and far too often and far too much for that matter. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way.

So how have things changed between now and 30 years ago?

Why is there extra stress and pressure upon people to be PERFECT in all areas of their life?

Why are there more cases of Depression, Anxiety, divorce, heart disease and cancer than ever before? What has changed?

Then and now.

Back then...

Times have changed. There's no doubt about it. Back when my grandparents were my age (they are now 70+), my Nana would stay at home and nurture her family. She wasn't expected to work. Her work was within the house. It was expected that her house would be clean, that the bellies of the people within her house were full, that the washing was done and that her partner was kept happy.

Pa would go and work to provide for his family. He was the sole income owner. His duties lay outside of the house. During the week Pa would go out and work. He'd come home to a clean house and dinner on the table. After dinner, Nana would do the dishes and put the kids to bed. On the weekends they would go out and socialise with friends and family.

My grandparents have been together for 50 years. They have raised 4 beautiful daughters and they are still happily married. I'm not going to pretend that life hasn't thrown challenges at them over the years. I'm sure there's LOTS that I do not KNOW or could NOT even comprehend, but I know that they are happily retired and have been ever since Pa was 55 years old (he's now 72!)

I look up to my grandparents. I want to be like them. I want to be happily married after 50 years of being with the same person and after bringing up a family, and then retiring by the time I'm 55. Don't we all?

Right now...

Even after I phoned my grandparents to hear their story I realised just how much time has changed.

Now there is an expectation that both men and women strive for a successful career. For someone my age, 24, it is expected that both me and my partner work full time. Now, during the week, we both leave the house before 8am and return home by around 6pm Monday to Friday. We both share the cooking and cleaning duties. We cook tea together, and when we can be bothered we do the dishes straight after. Thursday nights I go to netball training. On the weekend we're both racing around trying to jam pack in catching up with friends and family, spending quality time together, renovating, catching up on the cleaning duties like clothes washing, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and cleaning the bathrooms as well as cramming in sport and getting some down time in there somewhere so that we aren't exhausted for the week ahead.

What scares me is adding kids into the mix and still trying to maintain a clean house, pursue a career, make time for date nights with my partner and pay the bills. Which leads me to my next question.

Is it realistic to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balance of work and play on a combined or single wage of at least $100,000?

Sometimes I truly believe that families would struggle to make the repayments, put food on the table and pay the bills with a small family on anything less. How scary is that? You'd need one of the people in your relationship to make at least $100,000 to be able to be a full time stay at home mum if you have a loan of around $300,000 (which is on the conservative side for house prices in Australia). I honestly believe that.

Do we have our priorities wrong?

 Are we supported enough by the Government to be able to live a healthy and happy lifestyle for not only ourselves but also for our family?

Why is childcare so expensive if both partners are expected to work?

Why are house prices SO HIGH if the Government wants people to breed, have a career, buy a house, pay their bills and inject money into the retail and tourism economies?

I don't know the answer. I just know that I get frustrated and angry and upset when I know that parents are being forced to place their children in super expensive child care facilities when they'd rather be stay at home mums or dads BECAUSE the cost of living is far too high. What a load of crap.

Has society changed for the better over the years?

Is it now unrealistic to expect people to OWN houses?

Is that the problem?

Should we all rent so that it's cheaper?

Wouldn't that mean that the rich become richer because they can afford to buy homes and middle and lower classes become poorer (financially) because they are shut out of the market?

Or would the middle and lower classes in fact be richer emotionally and in happiness because there's not the pressure to make repayments, and therefore the mother or father can afford to stay home and raise a family in a nurturing environment while maintaining the house?

Does that mean that views would have to change on stay at home mums and females who choose to raise a family over a career? Whether we like to admit it or not, unfortunately these two options seem to be frowned upon in society now.

So let me get things straight here.

Females and males are expected to both have careers, purchase a house, raise a family, have a solid marriage or relationship, pay the bills and live a happy life BUT if a mother chooses to stay at home over pursuing a career to raise a family and maintain a house then they are frowned upon, and if a father chooses to stay at home and the mother goes out to work then she's frowned upon because she's seen as a bad mother, and if we rent over buying a house then we're looked down upon but if we buy over rent then we have to prolong starting a family and choose a minimalistic life while we spread our funds out to pay all of the bills?

No wonder everyone is under so much pressure to be perfect. Society contradicts itself in it's very own expectations.

Maybe, just maybe, we all have to learn that we're never going to keep everyone happy and that we have to do what WE want and WHAT we think is best for our future.

 Maybe we have to be more encouraging and supportive of those who choose to RENT over BUY and for those WOMEN/MEN who choose to be full time nurturers of their CHILDREN and NOT expect them to ALSO have a successful CAREER.

Maybe we need to lower our own expectations so that others lower their expectations of us? Maybe we have to change our attitudes and think twice before we rant and rave about such and such who isn't going anywhere in life, and why such and such is returning to work with a small child and why such and such is doing such and such wrong.

What do you think? Do you agree/disagree with what I say? Why/why not?

I definitely don't know the answer. I'd love to hear what you have to say. How do you live a balanced life between work and play? How do you keep your relationships happy and healthy? How do you stop yourself from crumbling under the pressure of life?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

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